March 08, 2004
Blogging Books - and, In Search of...The Perfect CSS Book 
This weekend, by accident, I found an excellent book on blogging during a search for the perfect CSS guidebook. First, let me tell you about the CSS Book Search. It's actually very hard to find The. Perfect. CSS. Book.. This is a case where I've had to go to three actual bookstores and leaf through books, rather than buying online. But I digress.

The blogging book I was initially referring to was Rebecca Blood's The Weblog Handbook (2002, Perseus Publishing). A slim neon-green tome, this invaluable book is packed with practical advice and insights on starting, maintaining and growing a successful blog, from a writer's perspective.

Blood's book doesn't focus so much on the technology or mechanics of blogging per se*, but rather on the juncture of form and function and maximizing content via the uniquely immediate and dynamic nature of blogging. I'd recommend it to anyone who keeps a weblog or is contemplating starting one - if you're not yet a blogger, Rebecca's book will certainly inspire you with its possibilities. All social constructs develop their own distinctive etiquette and ethics, and blogs are no exception - Rebecca's detailed and instructive look at these aspects will not only help you become a better blogger, but may save you from learning the hard way what not to say or do in your blog. Even if you've been writing for a few years, the information within will help you focus, fine-tune, and take your blog content to the "next level."

Think of it as the Dr. Spock Book for your blogchildren - I don't know how I've blogged for three years without it!

Back to the elusive CSS book. Many books I examined were two to five years old, an eternity in the technology world. Some CSS books focus on the design aspect too heavily or spend too much time on the more arcane uses like Aural CSS and speechreading; some are too dry and technical and lack practical coding examples, while others are so basic that they aren't suitable for users with intermediate previous Web experience (Look! You can make a text box with borders! Now, let's make RED borders and BIG text! You get the idea).

Like Goldilocks' porridge, I still haven't found the one that's juuust right! - but I'm getting close. Perhaps I shouldn't be this picky, but at $30 to $50 bucks a pop, I'd like something more utilitarian than a future doorstop, which is exactly what happened to my $ 69.95 Windows 98 Bible last year.

Anyone have a recommendation for a design-oriented, intermediate-level book on Cascading Style Sheets? I would really welcome your advice!

*Unlike another superb guide, Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone (2003, New Riders) which is a great place to learn about the nuts n' bolts aspect of blogging.

UPDATE: The Perfect CSS Book revisited!

posted by Lenka Reznicek  [link] | |

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March 08, 2004
Blogging Books - and, In Search of...The Perfect CSS Book by Lenka Reznicek



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